When choosing an environmentally friendly hotel chain, the best indicator probably isn’t whether the place asks you to hang up your towels if you don’t want them replaced each day. According to a new analysis [PDF] by sustainability company Brighter Planet, budget and mid-range hotels tend to produce the least carbon per room.
Topping the list are Vagabond Inn, Red Lion Hotels, and Red Carpet Inns. Travelodge comes in fourth. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but if you want to aim for carbon-friendliness, budget chains are likely the best option: The top performer in the high-end range, Four Points Hotels by Sheraton, came in 33rd overall.
But it’s impossible to totally generalize, either within sectors or within hotel chains. As Brighter Planet explains, the dirtiest budget chains do worse than the better high-end chains. One of the clearest indicators, though, that you’re making an energy-intensive choice is an indoor pool. Keeping that thing up to temperature takes a ton of energy. So avoid those. And — be honest — you weren’t going to go for a swim in that indoor pool anyway, because it closes at 6 p.m. and there’s no way you’re getting up early enough to fit in a morning round of laps.
Which hotel chain has the smallest carbon footprint?, Los Angeles Times.